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Plasmodium vivax congenital malaria in an area of very low endemicity in Guatemala: implications for clinical and epidemiological surveillance in a malaria elimination context

María Eugenia Castellanos1, Azucena Bardají2*, Michela Menegon3, Alfredo Mayor2, Meghna Desai4, Carlo Severini3, Clara Menéndez2 and Norma Padilla1

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Estudios en Salud, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (CES-UVG), 18 avenida 11-95 zona 15 Vista Hermosa 3, Guatemala, Guatemala

2 Barcelona Centre for International Health Research, (CRESIB, Hospital Clínic- Universitat de Barcelona), Roselló, 132, 5-1, 08036, Barcelona, Spain

3 Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Center for Global Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Mail Stop F-22, Atlanta, GA, 30341, USA

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Malaria Journal 2012, 11:411  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-411

Published: 8 December 2012


This is a report of the first Plasmodium vivax congenital malaria case in Guatemala and the first case in Latin America with genotypical, histological and clinical characterization. The findings show that maternal P. vivax infection still occurs in areas that are in the pathway towards malaria elimination, and can be associated with detrimental health effects for the neonate. It also highlights the need in very low transmission areas of not only maintaining, but increasing awareness of the problem and developing surveillance strategies, based on population risk, to detect the infection especially in this vulnerable group of the population.

Plasmodium vivax; Congenital; Malaria; Guatemala